An all Fil-Am showcase at SheLA Summer Theater Fest
LOS ANGELES — This year’s SheLA Summer Theater Festival will feature two plays written by Filipino Americans, with both directed by Yari Cervas and produced by Leah Vicencio.
The two plays explore “narratives of first generation Filipinx Millennials grappling with identity, belonging, and family ties in the diaspora.” (Filipinx is a gender-neutral variation for Filipina/o that has gained traction in academic and cultural settings.)
“Too Much Skin” by Carolene Joy Cabrera King follows two Filipino American siblings forging their own identity in the United States as they battle assimilation and white supremacist culture.
Darna has taken in her unemployed brother Christian, dates white dudes obsessed with her “exotic” appearance and cosplays as anime characters to hide her Filipino identity. The siblings confront their fears about who they are and their place in the world through video game fever dreams, bad dates and lots of late night snacking.
Fil-Am cast includes Kristel Dela Rosa, PJ Cimacio and Zeus Oira.
In her play “Electra,” Luz Lorenzana Twigg aims to “eviscerate cancel culture” as she adapts Sophocles’ masterpiece with the question “What do you have left when the deed is done?”
Electra’s mother, a successful white feminist senator and self-appointed leader of the #metoo movement, cancels her father, a human rights lawyer, over allegations of cheating and sexual assault. Passionate and full of rage, Electra wrestles with the inheritance of her biracial identity as she plots to exact justice on her mother.
Fil-Am cast includes Soleil Joun.
Yari Cervas (whose gender identity uses all pronouns), was a cofounding artistic director of MaArte Theatre Collective in San Diego, the city’s only theater organization devoted to Filipino American theater makers. Cervas’ involvement with both productions grew out of close, long-term collaborations with King and Twigg, some of which were through MaArte.
Her recent directing credits include “Desert Rock Garden at New Village Arts,” “The Fire In Me,” “You’re Safe Here” and “Your Best American Girl.”
Cofounder of Roaming Theatre Collaborative and currently based in New York, Luz Lorenzana Twigg is a playwright and lyrical poet from Santa Barbara, California. Credits include “Platinum Record,” “America, Home, Heart,” “The Trouble with Paradise” and “Sinner/Saint.”
Based out of Escondido, California, King is a poet, playwright, educator and activist. Credits include “Colored,” “Stories of Sun Café” and “Halo Halo.”
Leah Vicencio is a Creative Producer at Super Awesome Friends and Head of Media and Education of The Broadway Sinfonietta, an all-female, majority women of color orchestral collective.
SheLA is a branch of SheNYC Arts, a nonprofit that showcases emerging gender-marginalized theater writers and composers.
“Electra” runs July 14 and 16; “Too Much Skin” runs July 15 and 16. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California. Visit Shenycarts.org/she-la.